The Day Lewis Pharmacy Group has examined carefully today’s policy proposals and ‘broadly welcomes’ the ambitious aspirations, proposals and measures outlined by the Department of Health in the new Pharmacy White Paper ‘Building on Strengths, Delivering the Future’.
As the UK’s largest independent pharmacy multiple, Day Lewis Plc believe that there is much to be gained for community pharmacy policy to be integrated into the thinking around the future of the NHS. For many people, their local pharmacy is quite literally ‘the front door to the health service’, providing convenient patient accessibility to a qualified and experienced healthcare professional.
The company agrees with the Government view that the community pharmacy network is a vastly under-used resource: Day Lewis feels that many of the policy proposals set out in today’s announcement represent a positive opportunity to utilise those skills to provide preventative care for patients.Kirit Patel and his team believe this White Paper signals a significant and timely step forward in terms of clearly acknowledging and implementing the wider role that pharmacy will play in primary care over the next decade.
Day Lewis sees sense and rationale behind plans for pharmacy-based ‘flu vaccination and traveller’s health clinics, and is encouraged that there is a strong focus placed on pharmacy management of long-term conditions, such as asthma and diabetes.The company’s view is that these proposals to put pharmacy into the bigger picture are long overdue, but Day Lewis are encouraged that the profession will finally see future pharmacy policy in synergy with the rest of NHS thinking and planning. However, Day Lewis contend that while many of the policies are an important step in the right direction – with their focus on pharmacy’s role in improving the nation’s health through patient-centred care and pharmacy service innovation – there are still some areas which need to be addressed as a matter of urgency, namely: the two main pressure points affecting community pharmacy – control of entry and purchase profit income.
Commenting on the White Paper, Day Lewis Chief Executive, Kirit Patel, MBE, said:
“We are heartened and encouraged by the focus placed on developing pharmacy’s contribution to the nation’s health. Community pharmacists have already shown just how innovative they can be when given the chance, when extending their roles and responsibilities, such as pharmacist prescribing and pharmacists with special interests. Our pharmacy teams are already helping patients to access high quality care in the communities that Day Lewis operates. We are heartened and encouraged by the focus placed on developing pharmacy’s contribution to the nation’s health. Community pharmacists have already shown just how innovative they can be when given the chance, when extending their roles and responsibilities, such as pharmacist prescribing and pharmacists with special interests. Our pharmacy teams are already helping patients to access high quality care in the communities that Day Lewis operates.”
“An increased focus on pharmacy’s potential and making community pharmacy services more responsive to patients is welcome, but there also must be the capacity and the resources to make this happen. We will need further detail from the Government about where the money is going to come from to fund these changes and to ensure that these proposals are cost-effective, have proven health benefits, and to make the best and most appropriate use of the community pharmacy workforce.”
“So, in our view, the next steps are crucial. We look forward to learning more about the key proposals and consultation process on the Government’s plans for reforming the way in which the NHS contracts for services and 100 hours per week pharmacies.”
Another of Day Lewis’s key concerns over the past year has been commissioning policy. The company, along with other pharmacy stakeholders and representative bodies, believe that commissioning policy is core to achieving change in the NHS. Crucially it is also central to pharmacy’s aspirations to expand and develop. This is where future pharmacy policy and the bigger NHS picture converge. As a strong believer in ‘patient power’, Day Lewis are delighted to see that the Government has listened to the public on the services and access that they want from local pharmacies – and are addressing the views and needs of patients.
Mr Patel commented: “We are not surprised to learn that DoH patient surveys conducted in preparation for the White Paper clearly demonstrated the ‘high esteem which pharmacy is held’. Our own anecdotal customer feedback from our 165 pharmacies around the country reinforces this: indicating that the public appreciates that local pharmacists, working at the heart of their communities, can and already do make a very real and positive contribution in helping people make informed choices and develop healthy lives. Day Lewis will certainly be making its views – and those of its customers – heard at the DH planned series of public consultation events around the country.”
Peter Glover, Day Lewis Managing Director and Superintendent Pharmacist, added: “Community pharmacies are located at the heart of each local community – as attested by our Day Lewis Pharmacy company slogan: ‘Serving Our Local Communities’. They already provide ready access to many of the services highlighted in the White Paper. In fact, pharmacists are eager and able to play a key role in managing long-term conditions, improving public health and reducing health inequalities. We have long contended that pharmacy should continue to make an enhanced contribution to primary care – and that it has the potential to deliver many of the Government’s patient healthcare priorities – such as playing a key role in the Government’s recently announced plans for ‘health MOTs’ for everyone aged between 40 and 74. Indeed, many of our Day Lewis pharmacies already successfully operate as ‘healthy living’ centres – actively promoting health and offering our customers and patients the healthcare and advice they need to take better care of themselves.”
Although there remain some anxieties about the possible future plans and effects of Control of Entry regulations and the continued negative financial impact of Category M, Day Lewis executives and pharmacy teams look forward over the next 5 to 10 years to participating in the implementation of these strategies, and to play our part in building on pharmacy’s strengths in primary care and to delivering quality pharmaceutical services and care for patients, value for money for taxpayers and the best outcomes for the NHS.